Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Old paintings by a modern painter

Here in Zeerijp, one of the closest tourist attractions (if anything here could remotely be called that) is a visit to the village of Westeremden, about 6 km away. Dongsok and I took a break from work (me practicing, him editing CDs) and bicycled to Westeremden where we visited the home and exhibition hall of Henk Helmantel. Here is a person working is art techniques from about four centuries ago, painting mostly still lifes and interiors of Dutch churches, with a commanding sense of light and shadow in particular.  For me, that's something I can relate to - I spend my life working in the musical art of four centuries ago. And I enjoy seeing it just as much as I do playing Renaissance & early baroque music - I can't imagine anything more creative, despite being centuries-old techniques.
Here's a few paintings by Helmantel - I highly recommend seeing them in person. There is a modest fee to view the exhibition.

The lady at the ticket desk helpfully switched to English when I approached and asked if I was visiting...when I said "No, I'm staying in Zeerijp, and I play the organ" she said "Oh, you're Gwendolyn! You're playing the concert Sunday!" should know that the concert is to be an informal, unofficial event, not publicized except by email and phone to friends of the people I am staying with.
Small world here.

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